Local homeless man hailed as hero

A local homeless man, who is known around town as Sonny, was injured as he attempted to stop another Keizer man from breaking windows in Keizer Village Shopping Center Friday, Oct. 23. 

“He was going out of his way to help a Subway employee,” said Lt. Bob Trump, of the Keizer Police Department. “He’s a hero who did the right thing.”

Sonny received a superficial knife wound after intervening in the incident. 

Keizer police officers responded to the Subway location at 3834 River Road North about at 8:45 p.m. A 9-1-1 caller reported a man was in the parking lot striking car windows with a metal pole. A Subway employee locked the doors to the establishment. 

Sonny believed the employee to be in immediate danger and approached the suspect with a baseball bat. The man advanced on Sonny and was struck with the bat. The suspect then stabbed at Sonny with a fixed blade knife causing a superficial wound. 

Officers arrived on the scene and told the suspect to drop his knife. He refused and moved toward the officers. Tasers and a police K-9 were deployed to subdue the man. He was arrested and taken to Salem Health for treatment of injuries, then lodged at the Marion County jail. 

One car window was believed to have been smashed before officers arrived, Trump said. 

Avery Wayne Johnston, 28, of Keizer is charged with second-degree assault, two counts of unlawful use of a weapon and interfering with a police officer.